Sat. May 25th, 2024

By Donna Westfall – December 16 2017 – What was once science fiction has now become reality.

In the 1960’s, scientist/inventor, John Cover developed a non-lethal weapon. It was based on a novel from his childhood, “Tom Swift and the Electric Rifle, (acronym = TSER)” Cover worked as an aerospace scientist and had been involved with NASA’s Apollo program. In the late 1960s, as images of protests and police violence saturated the nightly news, he thought a weapon that temporarily immobilized a person, at a distance, using electricity, might be the solution.

Initially, his non-lethal weapon used a small gunpowder charge to shoot wires with metal darts carrying 50,000 volts of electricity. This would cause a person’s muscles to tense up involuntarily.

He patented his weapon and in 1974 approached law enforcement, the military and the airlines. None were interested until 1979 and an incident that changed the course of history.

January 3, 1979, two Los Angeles Police Department officers (LAPD) responded to the home of Eulia May Love, a 39 year old African-American woman, because of a dispute over a gas bill. She allegedly threatened them with a knife. They shot and killed her.

Former LAPD Police Chief, Daryl Gate, stated that he wanted one of those things that Buck Rogers used to “zap’em, freeze’em, and stop’em.”

Cover was in the right place at the right time, and the rest is history. LAPD took the unit out into the streets to test it and found it to be very effective. They ordered several hundred.

Cover didn’t think TSER flowed right so he added an “A” and that begot TASER. The word “Taser” is, in fact, an acronym for Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle. Also, instead of a gunpowder charge, they now use compressed gas.

Are there problems with Taser’s?

Yes. Stories of children, vulnerable adults and the elderly being “shocked” by stun guns that shot 50,000 volts through their bodies began to give Taser a bad name. Deaths resulted.

But, when Cover died in 2009, his wife related that she believed his invention saved the lives of a hundred thousand people.

At the December 12, 2017 Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Sheriff Apperson requested the purchase of Taser’s over a 5 year period for a grand total of $14,274.56. The vote was 5-0 to approve.

One thought on “Electronic Control Device = TASER”
  1. I thought DNC had tasers. Didn’t an unarmed man, with mental health problems, die from being tasered by two officers after the adult male’s mother asked for assistance from the sheriff’s department to help with her hallucinating son. I think it is very important to understand how a mentally ill person seeking help in DNC ends up at the morgue instead of a psych facility. The obvious reason he did not show up at a psych facility in DNC is because there isn’t any! The reason Alameda County’s mentally ill do not end-up at the morgue is due to the fact they have facilities and trained, licensed staff, practicing under the guidance of an excellent, thorough SOP, (standard operating procedure). That means a person found inappropriate and hallucinating on the street would be evaluated by an officer for placement on a 50-1-50. The person would be escorted by officers to a psychiatric facility to establish that they were not a danger to their self, to others, and were capable of taking care of their self. If any of these three diagnosis were positive the person would be placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold for up to 72 hours and could only be released by a psychiatrist. That would be after the person was observed by a licensed, trained, professional staff, evaluated, found to be stable, no auditory or visual hallucinations, and a specific treatment plan for that pt. with follow-up appointments was in place.
    This is expensive and has an outcome of a healthier, safer, better educated community.
    Compared to DNC’s untrained staff with inappropriate tools and methods, with nowhere but jail (or in some cases the morgue) to take the mentally ill.
    Alameda County has the ability to customize each treatment for the specific patient’s needs (Crisis care, out Pt. follow up, in-house care, long term care, support groups…)
    DNC has one umbrella program incapable of treating the many different symptoms of a large population of mentally ill citizens.
    To provide untrained, undisciplined sheriffs with elitist attitudes with tasers is irresponsible. The citizens are already exposed to officers who have tasered a mental health pt. to death, broke into a citizen’s home, beat him, stole from him, lied about
    his past saying he was a felon to get an illegal warrant (from a disbarred DA)from an out of town, appointed judge (not elected by the citizens) Please read the black hawk pistol story and know that not one damn thing has been done to resolve any of the terrifying acts committed on a law abiding citizen (with a crystal clear record) by “THE SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT”, NO RETURN OF PROPERTY, MONEY, APOLOGIES, USE OF THE TAX PAYERS COURTS after 25 attempts to present this to a judge. Any judge want to explain this?

    I expect the sheriff to allow the department to be drug tested at random.
    To get my vote all wrongs committed by the sheriff and deputies, especially to Mr. Egan, must be addressed and restitution of Mr. Egans losses restored. You cannot commit criminal acts and work for the sheriff’s department.
    Have deputies been drug tested? Have the deputies who refuse to take reports from citizens and steal evidence from the locker been replace? Is their a video aimed at the evidence locker, secured for 24 hour/7 days a week taping?
    If any of the questions are answered with “NO”, then “NO” to the tasers.

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